Service Catalog Business Benefits

June 17 2014

IT departments are constantly busy and not only overseeing the day-to-day operations of company technology but also handling service requests from employees and executives. In order to cut down on the amount of calls that the IT department needs to handle, they can offer a service catalog detailing what services they offer and allowing users to see the status (via a self service portal) of their request without having to pick up the phone and call. This not only improves and simplifies the user's experience but also saves costs and cuts down on redundancies within the IT department itself. If needed, a service catalog can also be expanded to include all aspects of the business, including finances and human resources.

1. Clear Service Offering

A clear service catalog informs users of exactly what services are offered, how these services will be executed, and approximately how long it will take. This enables both the user and the IT department to know the correct steps to be followed in order to come to a relevant solution. Resources within the IT department are then allocated effectively and rapidly to solve the problem, resulting in higher user satisfaction.

2. More Self Service

By allowing users to make and track requests on their own, a service catalog and its web portal will not only improve the user's satisfaction but also result in significant cost savings. It can also simplify user experience, leading users to feel more positive about their interaction with the portal (being feeded by the catalog) or the IT department. This is especially important for users who may not be technologically inclined. For the increasing number of remote workers in today's work force, a service catalog allows access to support resource no matter the time or the place, cutting down on the cost of running the support desk at all hours.

Service catalogs will cut down on user complaints. A user that needs support will be able to easily select the option that he need on the self service portal - such as a request to access an application - and then see exactly how long it will take to be delivered. This provides satisfaction on all sides: the user knows that his request is being fulfilled, the executives know that their employees are able to complete their work as soon as possible, and the IT department can allocate its time towards working on the request instead of providing constant updates on its status.

3. IT Productivity. Business Productivity. 

Business owners need to know that their IT department is productive and efficient. A service catalog improves IT productivity by allowing the department to prioritize the important tasks, avoiding wasting time on requests that can easily be monitored by the user. This then translates into visibility for the business owner or executives, allowing them to see what tasks the IT department is handling and in what time frame, monitoring service level agreements and key support indicators.

4. Improved Customer Service

Forward-thinking IT departments are moving towards making their service catalog the cornerstone of their service management. A major issue within current businesses is the lack of trust between the IT department and their customers (internal customers such as other internal department employees and external clients). This is often the result of the divide in technical language and context between executives and the IT department. A service catalog shows managers in clear, business-oriented language what is offered by the IT department. By filtering the catalogs into adapted offers, decision makers can also see the efficiency of a personalized service offer related to a clientele. Also, by giving more visibility into the infrastructure of the IT department, ITSM process related to the filtered catalogs (such as KPI, reports and dashboards) give business owners and executives the answers to what exactly the IT department does, what the IT budget is going towards, and whether or not the department does a good job.

5. Business Consistency and Quality

A well verbalized service catalog ensures that all three stakeholders - the management, the user, and the IT department - are on the same page, with consistent expectations. In order to benefit the business, the IT department must deliver their services efficiently and within a reasonable time frame, or business owners will begin to look elsewhere for relevant help. A lack of trust between the IT department and their users or customers only results in more issues, and a well-laid out service catalog will go a long way to establishing trust and accountability again.

Service catalogs greatly benefit the business overall, providing customer and user satisfaction while allowing the IT department to complete their work in a priority-based and efficient manner. From the very beginning the catalog should be clear, easy to use, and informative, allowing everyone within the business to know what services they're entitled to and in what time frame. By cutting down on service costs, establishing trust, providing transparency, and allowing both employees and the IT department to boost their productivity, service catalogs enable a business to be run with a high level of efficiency.